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Anger: 1,000 march against plan to change hospital's name

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Disapproval: Protesters gather in the centre of Drogheda ahead of the march to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital. Photo: Paul Connor

Disapproval: Protesters gather in the centre of Drogheda ahead of the march to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital. Photo: Paul Connor

Disapproval: Protesters gather in the centre of Drogheda ahead of the march to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital. Photo: Paul Connor

Almost 1,000 people marched through Drogheda to protest at proposals to change the name of Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital.

The hospital, which is one of the busiest acute hospitals in the country, was bought by the HSE from the Medical Missionaries of Mary in 1997.

It is understood staff were asked which of three other names it should be called: Drogheda University Hospital, Drogheda Regional Hospital or Drogheda General Hospital.

Yesterday's march culminated with a letter to the general manager of the hospital being handed to a representative of hospital management. The letter, from the 'Save the Name' committee, says its petition to retain the name has so far been signed by 8,020 people. It wants to meet with hospital management and says there should be consultation with local people before any name change takes place.

A number of people marching yesterday said the HSE should instead spend money on additional nurses or other resources for the hospital.

Generations of families took part in the 2km march from the centre of Drogheda to the hospital.

"Our two boys were born there," said Liam and Paola Flynn, who walked with their sons Daire (2) and Matthew (4). "I think the HSE could use their money a lot wiser in paying the nurses better, in giving more beds to patients rather than changing the name," Ms Flynn said. "The Church has done a lot of good in this country and with the bad they have done, it would be a pity to erase the good as well."

Meanwhile, Labour senator Ged Nash said that the RCSI group which manages the hospital has confirmed no funds have been allocated to the proposed name change of the hospital in 2019.

The hospital yesterday said it had no comment to make, while the HSE said the proposed name change "is part of plans at a national level to move hospitals to academic models, as has already happened at Letterkenny and Kerry".

Irish Independent